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Title: Of Princes and peasants? : a comparative approach to an understanding of social development, identity and dynamics in mainland Greece, c.1300-900 B.C.
Author: Peters, Mark Steven
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 4036
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2009
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With the destruction of the Mycenaean palaces, Aegean Bronze Age society underwent dramatic transformations. The palaces, along with much of their associated material expressions, disappeared. In this comparative study I examine why the Mycenaean political institutions were never reinstated and the nature of the social dynamics that subsequently created a situation traditionally characterized as the 'Dark Ages'. To this end, analyses of the Linear B documents from Pylos are used to examine palatial and 'extra-palatial' social identities, relationships and the dynamics of socio-political change. Examining firstly the concept of an administrative archive, I propose a fundamental revision to our understanding of what these docunients represent, how they were used and, for Pylos, where their primary context of expression lay. Specifically, I argue that the tablets were not a passive administrative tool, but were active devices in the manipulation of social relationships and identities within and beyond the Palace of Nestor. As mnemonic aids to the establishment of relationships of patronage, debt and obligation within an oral/aural arena of negotiation, they reflected clear divisions within Mycenaean society; divisions that laid the foundations for a rejection of that socio-political system. From this, a model is suggested whereby the dynamics of Early Iron Age society were driven by factions and factional competition, initially focussed upon authority figures such as the basileis. It is further proposed that the archaeological variability characteristic of this period is a direct reflection of competing factional identities whose ideologies can be distinguished by varying degrees of affinity to the preceding palatial system. Finally, the hiatus in the use of writing between the 12th and 8th centuries B.C is suggested to be a direct result of the connotations arising from the use to which Linear B was put and the concomitant antipathy towards the accoutrements of Mycenaean palatial identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available